Manchester United sign Arsenal captain Robin van Persie for £24m in major coup for Alex Ferguson

Manager steals a march over his biggest rivals after Arsenal finally agree to offload Dutch striker

Sir Alex Ferguson was last night celebrating a major transfer market victory over his biggest rivals after Arsenal finally relented and agreed to sell Robin van Persie to Manchester United for about £24m.

The move represents the biggest coup of the summer transfer window so far and firmly re-establishes United's position in English football after surrendering their title to Manchester City in such dramatic circumstances last season.

Roberto Mancini, the City manager, failed in his attempts to implore his board to move for the Dutch international, 29, who announced last month that he would not be entering negotiations to renew his contract at the Emirates Stadium, with his existing deal heading into its final 12 months.

That alone rocked Arsenal's manager, Arsène Wenger, who believed the bond he had established with the player since he signed him eight years ago from Feyenoord would be enough to convince him to stay.

However, the statement merely acted to strengthen Ferguson's desire to sign Van Persie, who scored 34 goals in English football last season, and he has spent the summer trying to bridge the gap between the two clubs.

Wenger had insisted he would not allow the player to go for less than £30m but Manchester United's final offer is believed to be nearer to the £20m that was set aside for the forward. It could rise to £24m.

Wenger had favoured Van Persie moving to Juventus, who lodged a £10m bid at the start of the summer. Ferguson spoke to Wenger on Monday in an attempt to broker a deal that Wenger was always reluctant to agree to, and talks developed quickly between the two clubs yesterday.

The player had privately set his heart on a move to Old Trafford and that was on the brink of completion last night when both Arsenal and Manchester United released statements saying a fee had been agreed. Van Persie was due to head straight from the Netherlands' friendly in Brussels against Belgium last night to have his medical in Manchester today.

Manchester United are believed to have prepared a deal which, including image rights, will land the player near the £200,000-a-week salary he wanted over the course of a five-year contract.A statement on United's website said: "Manchester United is pleased to announce it has reached agreement with Arsenal Football Club for the transfer of Robin van Persie. The deal is subject to a medical and the agreement of personal terms. A further announcement will be made in due course."

Arsenal added their own statement: "Arsenal Football Club can confirm that terms have been agreed for the transfer of Robin van Persie to Manchester United. Van Persie will travel to Manchester on Thursday in order to agree personal terms and complete a medical ahead of the proposed move."

Van Persie will become the first player to move directly to Old Trafford from Arsenal since Viv Anderson made the same switch 25 years ago. He is also the latest in a succession of big names to flee the Emirates, following the high-profile departures of Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri and Gaël Clichy. There could be further disappointment, with Barcelona still chasing Alex Song, who has admitted he was flattered by the interest of the Catalan giants. In contrast, Manchester United have reaffirmed their position in the domestic game with the addition of last year's double player of the year.

 

Get Adobe Flash player

 


Related articles from London's Evening Standard...

Robin van Persie exit shows flaws in Arsene Wenger's argument

‘Manchester United can win the title with Robin van Persie’
 

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe